Roma came from behind to beat Barcelona 4-2 in the International Champions Cup at AT&T Stadium but not before Malcom had given them a taste of what they missed out on.
A flurry of late goals from Alessandro Florenzi, Bryan Cristante and Diego Perotti helped the Italians recover from 2-1 down as they took full advantage of Barca’s changes in the latter stages of the game.
Ernesto Valverde had made 10 outfield substitutions by the time Florenzi levelled the match at 2-2 and the Barca coach will be happy with what he saw before he brought on the club’s B team players — especially from new signing Malcom.
Roma thought they had signed Malcom from Bordeaux last week only to see Barca swoop in at the 11th hour, nabbing the Brazilian from under their noses in a deal worth €41 million.
Defender Kostas Manolas played down the transfer saga before the game, saying he hadn’t even heard of Malcom, but all the Roma players will have been aware of him by full-time.
Making his first start for his new club, Malcom impressed in a Barca side which was without Lionel Messi and the other players that took part in this summer’s World Cup.
After Stephan El Shaarawy had cancelled out Rafinha’s early opener, the script was written for Malcom to restore Barca’s lead after good work from Ballou Tabla.
He almost scored again, too, sending a free kick inches wide before seeing a shot well saved by substitute goalkeeper Antonio Mirante.
Barca’s young side had started quickly. Munir had already spurned two openings when Rafinha capped a fine team move in the seventh minute to open the scoring.
Valverde’s side continued to pile on the pressure. Rafinha, who’s playing for his future at the club, almost set up Malcom for a second goal, but Robin Olsen saved.
Barca’s grip on possession remained but the frequency of their chances decreased as Roma began to pose a threat on the break.
Chances for Edin Dzeko and Florenzi had already been snuffed out when summer signing Justin Kluivert set up El Shaarawy to equalise.
Malcom then had his moment in the 49th minute before Valverde rung the changes on the hour mark.
Florenzi took advantage of some open defending from Barca’s youngsters, who play in the third tier of Spanish football, to level before Cristante beat Jasper Cillessen after being given too much room to turn.
Perotti added a fourth in the final five minutes from the penalty spot after a foul by Jorge Cuenca.